However much truth there was in the oft-uttered phrase “hopelessly divided Supreme Court,” it was not the case this term. SCOTUSblog’s indispensable Stat Pack tells the story:
– 59% of the decisions were 9-0, well above the five-year average of 49% but below the 66% in the 2013 term.
– There were only seven 5-4 decisions, and only two of those reflected the now-traditional five-member conservative bloc voting together. Four of the seven featured the five-justice alignment of Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan.
– Gorsuch immediately found a friend and an ideological opponent on the court: He agreed with Thomas in 100% of decisions and disagreed with Sotomayor 41% of the time.
In a pattern seen previously in settlements over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, NFL concussion suits and other large MDLs, the lawyers representing real, living clients negotiated an additional settlement on behalf of anyone else who might sue in the future.